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Pandora (music service)

Pandora (music service)

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Pandora Radio is an automated music recommendation service and custodian of the Music Genome Project
Music Genome Project
The Music Genome Project was first conceived by Will Glaser and Tim Westergren in late 1999. In January 2000, they joined forces with Jon Kraft to found Pandora Media to bring their idea to market...

 available only in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. The service plays musical selections similar to song suggestions entered by a user. The user provides positive or negative feedback for songs chosen by the service, which are taken into account for future selections.

While listening, users are offered the ability to buy the songs or albums at various online retailers. Over 400 different musical attributes are considered when selecting the next song. These 400 attributes are combined into larger groups called focus traits. There are 2,000 focus traits. Examples of these are rhythm syncopation
Syncopation
In music, syncopation includes a variety of rhythms which are in some way unexpected in that they deviate from the strict succession of regularly spaced strong and weak but also powerful beats in a meter . These include a stress on a normally unstressed beat or a rest where one would normally be...

, key tonality
Tonality
Tonality is a system of music in which specific hierarchical pitch relationships are based on a key "center", or tonic. The term tonalité originated with Alexandre-Étienne Choron and was borrowed by François-Joseph Fétis in 1840...

, vocal harmonies, and displayed instrumental proficiency.

The Pandora media player is based on OpenLaszlo
OpenLaszlo
OpenLaszlo is an open source platform for the development and delivery of rich Internet applications. It is released under the Open Source Initiative-certified Common Public License ....

. Pandora can also be accessed through many stand-alone players, such as the Roku DVP (formerly Netflix
Netflix
Netflix, Inc., is an American provider of on-demand internet streaming media in the United States, Canada, and Latin America and flat rate DVD-by-mail in the United States. The company was established in 1997 and is headquartered in Los Gatos, California...

 player) Reciva-based radios (from companies like Grace Digital
Grace Digital
Grace Digital Inc is a consumer electronics company based in San Diego, CA. Grace Digital, Inc. was founded in 2007, by James D. Palmer and Greg Fadul...

, Sanyo
Sanyo
is a major electronics company and member of the Fortune 500 whose headquarters is located in Moriguchi, Osaka prefecture, Japan. Sanyo targets the middle of the market and has over 230 Subsidiaries and Affiliates....

, and Sangean
Sangean
Sangean is a globally active Taiwanese electronics company specialised in radios. The company was founded in 1974 and has built its worldwide reputation especially on shortwave radios and recently also made a name for itself with digital receivers...

), Frontier Silicon-based connected audio systems, Slim Devices
Slim Devices
Slim Devices, Inc. is a consumer electronics company based in Mountain View, California, United States. Their main product is the Squeezebox network music player which connects to a home ethernet or Wi-Fi network, and allows the owner to stream digital audio over the network to a stereo...

, and Sonos
Sonos
Sonos is a consumer electronics company based in Santa Barbara, California. It was founded in 2002 by John MacFarlane, who previously founded Software.com. The company’s main product is the Sonos Multi-Room Music System.-History:...

 product(s). On July 11, 2008, Pandora launched a mobile version of their software for the Apple iPhone
IPhone
The iPhone is a line of Internet and multimedia-enabled smartphones marketed by Apple Inc. The first iPhone was unveiled by Steve Jobs, then CEO of Apple, on January 9, 2007, and released on June 29, 2007...

, iPad
IPad
The iPad is a line of tablet computers designed, developed and marketed by Apple Inc., primarily as a platform for audio-visual media including books, periodicals, movies, music, games, and web content. The iPad was introduced on January 27, 2010 by Apple's then-CEO Steve Jobs. Its size and...

, and iPod Touch
IPod Touch
The iPod Touch is a portable media player, personal digital assistant, handheld game console, and Wi-Fi mobile device designed and marketed by Apple Inc. The iPod Touch adds the multi-touch graphical user interface to the iPod line...

 through the iTunes App Store. Pandora is also available for Android phones, BlackBerry
BlackBerry
BlackBerry is a line of mobile email and smartphone devices developed and designed by Canadian company Research In Motion since 1999.BlackBerry devices are smartphones, designed to function as personal digital assistants, portable media players, internet browsers, gaming devices, and much more...

 platforms, HP webOS (used on the Palm Pre
Palm Pre
The Palm Pre is a multimedia smartphone designed and marketed by Palm with a multi-touch screen and a sliding keyboard. The smartphone was the first to use Palm's Linux based mobile operating system, webOS...

, Palm Pixi
Palm Pixi
The Palm Pixi and Pixi Plus are multimedia smartphones, developed by Palm, which was purchased in 2010 by HP. The device is viewed as a successor to the Palm Centro smartphone and was Palm's second webOS device, after the Palm Pre....

, Palm Pre 2
Palm Pre 2
The Palm Pre 2 is a multimedia smartphone designed and marketed by Palm, Inc., and Hewlett-Packard with a multi-touch screen and a sliding keyboard. The smartphone is the third to use Palm's Linux based mobile operating system, webOS...

, and HP Veer
HP Veer
The Veer is a smartphone announced by HP on February 9, 2011. The device uses webOS, is powered by a Snapdragon processor, and has a 2.6-inch screen. The smartphone is notable for its credit card-sized dimensions...

), and Windows Mobile
Windows Mobile
Windows Mobile is a mobile operating system developed by Microsoft that was used in smartphones and Pocket PCs, but by 2011 was rarely supplied on new phones. The last version is "Windows Mobile 6.5.5"; it is superseded by Windows Phone, which does not run Windows Mobile software.Windows Mobile is...

 devices. Pandora was the provider for MSN
MSN
MSN is a collection of Internet sites and services provided by Microsoft. The Microsoft Network debuted as an online service and Internet service provider on August 24, 1995, to coincide with the release of the Windows 95 operating system.The range of services offered by MSN has changed since its...

 Radio until MSN discontinued their internet radio service on June 18, 2008. A modified version of Pandora has been made available for Sprint Nextel
Sprint Nextel
Sprint Nextel Corporation is an American telecommunications company based in Overland Park, Kansas. The company owns and operates Sprint, the third largest wireless telecommunications network in the United States, with 53.4 million customers, behind Verizon Wireless and AT&T Mobility...

.

The service has two subscription plans: a free subscription supported by advertisements, and a fee-based subscription without ads. There are also advertisements in Pandora Mobile for mobile phones and the Pandora in The Home computer appliance
Computer appliance
A computer appliance is generally a separate and discrete hardware device with integrated software , specifically designed to provide a specific computing resource. These devices became known as "appliances" because of their similarity to home appliances, which are generally "closed and sealed" –...

. Most users choose the free subscription.

As of IPO, Pandora had 80,000 artists, 800,000 tracks in its library and 80 million users.

In May 2010, Pandora was named in Lead411's 2010 Hottest San Francisco Companies list. In January 2011, Pandora met with bankers to consider a possible $100 million IPO. The company filed with the SEC for a $100mm IPO on February 11, 2011 and officially began trading on the New York Stock Exchange
New York Stock Exchange
The New York Stock Exchange is a stock exchange located at 11 Wall Street in Lower Manhattan, New York City, USA. It is by far the world's largest stock exchange by market capitalization of its listed companies at 13.39 trillion as of Dec 2010...

 with ticker symbol "P" on June 15, 2011 at a price of $16/share. This gave them a valuation of nearly $2.6 billion.

During its 2011 fiscal year, Pandora reported $138 million in revenue with a $1.8 million net loss, excluding the cost of a special dividend associated with the IPO.

Using and tuning


A station is set by specifying an artist or song, or a combination of multiple items of any kind in a single station. Listeners can tune into pre-made genre
Music genre
A music genre is a categorical and typological construct that identifies musical sounds as belonging to a particular category and type of music that can be distinguished from other types of music...

 stations and other users' stations. Each track played can be responded to with favorable (thumbs up) or unfavorable (thumbs down) buttons, which determine if it should be played, and how much should similarly classified songs be played in the station. A second negative response to the same artist will ban that artist from the selected station unless the user has marked the artist positively on another occasion. No response is applicable to musical attributes or to albums. An unfavorable response immediately stops play of the track.

In addition, a menu is provided with the choices: I'm tired of this song, Why was this song selected?, Move song to another station, New Station, and Bookmark. A Buy button is located at the top of each song block. From there, listeners can click on links to buy the song from iTunes or Amazon.

There is a setting in each member's account regarding whether the user wants songs with explicit lyrics played. This, however, does not apply exclusively to albums with the parental advisory
Parental Advisory
Parental Advisory is a message affixed by the Recording Industry Association of America to audio and recordings in the United States containing excessive use of profane language and/or sexual references. Albums began to be labeled for "explicit lyrics" in 1985, after pressure from the Parents...

 label, as other songs with censored versions will have that version played. An example is "Jet Airliner
Jet Airliner (song)
"Jet Airliner" is a song composed by Paul Pena and popularized by the Steve Miller Band.Pena wrote and recorded the song in 1973 for his New Train album.However, due to conflicts between Pena and his label, New Train sat unreleased until 2000...

" by the Steve Miller Band
Steve Miller Band
The Steve Miller Band is an American rock band formed in 1967 in San Francisco, California. The band is managed by Steve Miller on guitar and lead vocals, and is known for a string of mid-1970s hit singles that are staples of the classic rock radio format.-History:In 1965, Steve Miller and...

, which had one word censored for radio play. With explicit lyrics off, that version will play, despite the album itself not having a PA label.

Limitations



Pandora serves users in the United States. Initially this was enforced lightly, by requiring a U.S. ZIP code
ZIP Code
ZIP codes are a system of postal codes used by the United States Postal Service since 1963. The term ZIP, an acronym for Zone Improvement Plan, is properly written in capital letters and was chosen to suggest that the mail travels more efficiently, and therefore more quickly, when senders use the...

 at registration, but since May 3, 2007, Pandora has blocked non-U.S. IP addresses.

The Vista sidebar gadget does not affect the listening limit. Rewind or repeat is not possible. Until May 2009, six skips per station were allowed per hour (up to 72 skips every 24 hours); giving a "thumbs down" response, or a "don't play for a month" response, count as "skips". On May 21, 2009, the skip limit was altered such that it counts total skips from all stations with the limitation of twelve total skips every 24 hours (an average of one skip every two hours). If a listener gives a song a thumbs-down or "don't play for a month" after the limit has been exceeded, the song will continue to play; it's only after the song has completed that it becomes subject to the listener's restrictions. This limit was not applied to the Vista gadget. Originally, this was determined per account, but has since been determined per IP address. For the Vista gadget, skips can be reset by closing the gadget and adding it again. However, doing this too frequently will result in an error that will prevent usage of both the Vista gadget and the internet player for up to thirty minutes.

Play of a single artist is limited. Pandora provides similar music, not a play-on-demand service.

As of 2009, the mini player is only available with Pandora's subscription service. Free accounts include advertising. These include simple interruptions, with the ad listed on the stream; advertising skins, which do not interrupt the stream; and Java
Java
Java is an island of Indonesia. With a population of 135 million , it is the world's most populous island, and one of the most densely populated regions in the world. It is home to 60% of Indonesia's population. The Indonesian capital city, Jakarta, is in west Java...

 popup ads. The Vista player has no ads.

Initially, users with free accounts could listen to 40 hours of music a month, and could pay $.99 per month for unlimited streaming. In September 2011, Pandora removed the 40 hour listening limit.

Mobile devices


The Pandora Mobile for BlackBerry application is limited to AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile, Boost Mobile, and U.S. Cellular U.S.
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 carriers, but visiting the Pandora website directly from other providers' BlackBerry users have been successful downloading the fully operational application. Likewise, the Windows Mobile
Windows Mobile
Windows Mobile is a mobile operating system developed by Microsoft that was used in smartphones and Pocket PCs, but by 2011 was rarely supplied on new phones. The last version is "Windows Mobile 6.5.5"; it is superseded by Windows Phone, which does not run Windows Mobile software.Windows Mobile is...

 client is limited to a select number of handsets, however the installer is available from 3rd party sources and works fine or with only minor display glitches on most devices.

Other features

  • Pandora Podcast (2007-2009), a musicology
    Musicology
    Musicology is the scholarly study of music. The word is used in narrow, broad and intermediate senses. In the narrow sense, musicology is confined to the music history of Western culture...

     show that updated every few weeks in the form of a podcast
    Podcast
    A podcast is a series of digital media files that are released episodically and often downloaded through web syndication...

    . It was hosted by Kevin Seal of the band Griddle. Each show was based around a specific music topic, and featured guest musicians and Pandora experts who normally analyzed the music featured on the Pandora website.
  • A Facebook
    Facebook
    Facebook is a social networking service and website launched in February 2004, operated and privately owned by Facebook, Inc. , Facebook has more than 800 million active users. Users must register before using the site, after which they may create a personal profile, add other users as...

     application developed to allow users to put their Pandora radio stations on their Facebook profiles.
  • Pandora released a sidebar gadget for Windows Vista
    Windows Vista
    Windows Vista is an operating system released in several variations developed by Microsoft for use on personal computers, including home and business desktops, laptops, tablet PCs, and media center PCs...

     and Windows 7. This player retains the original skip limit, has no ads, and does not affect the hourly listening limit. However, many of the features (such as about the artist or adding to the station directly) are not included. Originally, an ad for Netflix
    Netflix
    Netflix, Inc., is an American provider of on-demand internet streaming media in the United States, Canada, and Latin America and flat rate DVD-by-mail in the United States. The company was established in 1997 and is headquartered in Los Gatos, California...

     was featured on the bottom of the player, but it has since been removed.
  • Pandora can be played on home CE devices such as WDLivePlus, Roku
    Roku
    Roku , is an American, privately held, consumer electronics company that sells home digital media products. The Company is based in Saratoga, California.- Company profile and products :...

    , and Blu-ray players. Many HDTVs can also stream Pandora.
  • A Pandora app can be downloaded via iTunes
    ITunes
    iTunes is a media player computer program, used for playing, downloading, and organizing digital music and video files on desktop computers. It can also manage contents on iPod, iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad....

    . It retains the original skip limit as well as having no interruptions (although "sponsored links" appear at the bottom) and does not affect the listening limit.

Royalty developments since 2007


In 2007, a federal panel agreed with a SoundExchange
SoundExchange
SoundExchange is a non-profit performance rights organization that collects royalties on the behalf of sound recording copyright owners and featured artists for non-interactive digital transmissions, including satellite and Internet radio.-History:Prior to 1995, SRCOs in the United States did not...

 request and ordered a doubling of the per-song performance royalty that Web radio stations pay to performers and record companies. Under this scheme, internet radio would pay double the royalty as satellite radio.

Because of recent Copyright Royalty Board rulings that increase fees and ask for licensing guarantees, the Pandora service is no longer available in countries other than the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. These rulings affect all U.S.-based Internet-based radio stations (terrestrial radio is not affected).

As of July 2008, Pandora is in talks with major music labels regarding royalty issues to allow a return to the European market.
Costs remain a concern because of European royalty standards and a low demand for paid music services.

In 2008, the founder of Pandora stated that the company may be on the verge of collapse. Royalty fees account for a majority portion of Pandora's revenues. If an agreement between Pandora and SoundExchange
SoundExchange
SoundExchange is a non-profit performance rights organization that collects royalties on the behalf of sound recording copyright owners and featured artists for non-interactive digital transmissions, including satellite and Internet radio.-History:Prior to 1995, SRCOs in the United States did not...

 is not reached, it could mean the end of Pandora. "We're losing money as it is," said Tim Westergren
Tim Westergren
Timothy Brooks Westergren , is a co-founder of Pandora Radio.-Biography:He was born on December 21, 1965 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Westergren graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. in political science...

. "The moment we think this problem in Washington is not going to get solved, we have to pull the plug because all we're doing is wasting money."

On September 30, 2008, a bill was passed by the U.S. House and Senate to allow sites like Pandora to continue negotiations with SoundExchange into 2009.

On July 7, 2009, Pandora announced that an agreement had been reached regarding the royalty issue, which would significantly reduce the royalty rate, making it possible for Pandora to stay in business. Also announced was that free listening would be limited to 40 hours per month, but can be extended to unlimited for that month for USD
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

$0.99. "The revised royalties are quite high," the company's blog notes, "higher in fact than any other form of radio". The extended listening fee differs from "upgrading", which also disables advertisements, increases the bitrate to 192 kbps, and provides a dedicated music player (as opposed to listening through browser). This service, known as "Pandora One", costs $36 and is billed annually.

On Sept 20, 2011, Pandora announced they have removed the 40 hours listening cap and extended it to 320 hours. If you then reach the 320 hour listening cap, Pandora will then contact you, via email, to warn that you're abusing the system.

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    Deezer is a free music streaming service based in Paris, France. Deezer was launched on August 24, 2007. Deezer has negotiated rights to make 165,000 songs available for streaming legally via an agreement with Sony, as well as some of Universal's catalog...

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